For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to move out into the country. I mean, farther out in the country than we are now. We live on the edge of a small town, and there’s a cornfield right across the street, but I’d like to have a place where there are no other houses around, and the nearest neighbor is at least 1/4 mile away. I want to have a view to the west that’s unobscured, and I want to have the option of playing loud rock music at 2AM without receiving a visit from the sheriff. Not that I’m ever awake at 2AM playing loud music, but I’d like to have the option.

So over Christmas this desire to move became a topic of conversation, and I had a relative remind me that when I was in my teens I hated living in the country. I apparently resented our family’s move from the town to our farm when I was seven, and I guess I let everyone know it. What my relative said has been whirling around in the back of my head ever since, and I finally figured out how to reconcile my desire to live in the country now against my resentment of living in the country in my youth.

It wasn’t the farm itself I hated. What I hated was the fact that the only place I had to go (outside of school and church) was home, and my Dad (at times) could be a very nasty bully. I felt trapped, and all I wanted to do was get out of that trap. Once I started college, I was able to spend long periods of time away from home, and the feeling of being trapped began to recede. When I married Carl, and he defended me and made my Dad stop his bullying, I finally felt released from the trap and the farm became a very welcoming place to go. I especially liked going home in the fall, when the maple trees in the front yard blazed with orange, the air was crisp and cool, and my kids could play in the large piles of leaves around the house. Those were good years, and they more than made up for the bad moments of my childhood. I had a great relationship with Dad, and so did Carl and the girls. It was an overwhelmingly sad event when my Dad got sick and my parents sold their farm and moved to town. For all I can tell, the farm is in good hands: the family that bought it has made some very nice improvements, and they’ve allowed the lilac hedge to grow and thrive.

But I miss the feeling of space that the farm had. You could go outside at night and look at the stars without having to deal with streetlights. You could let the dogs out to run and not have to worry about them going across the street to irritate your neighbors. You had room to play a game of football, not just a game of catch. If your neighbors set off (illegal) fireworks, you were far enough away for them not to bother you. Living in town, even a small town like the one we live in now, gives me a closed in, restricted feeling. I feel the need to get out, to stretch out, to have a place where I can look at the stars without all that in-town light pollution.

I feel the need to get out of the trap.

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